By John Fredericks
The Republican Party of Virginia has seen better days.
The Commonwealth, once a reliable red state and a key lynchpin of the GOP’s presidential map turned blue for the national Democrats twice in four years.
Adding insult to injury was former governor and now US Senator-elect Tim Kaine’s shellacking of another former Virginia governor: George Allen. Kaine ran 38,000 votes ahead of Barack Obama, while clobbering Allen by nearly a quarter million votes.
This does not bode well for the state’s establishment GOP, as the faithful gather for their annual “RPV Advance” convention in Virginia Beach next weekend. The Party elders have to come to grips with the fact they have only Gov. Bob McDonnell’s victory in 2009 to hang their hat on in the last four statewide elections, dating back to 2006.
2013 now becomes a bell-weather barometer for the future political fortunes of the Republican Party of Virginia. Another loss will likely tip the political scales of the Commonwealth from purple to blue. As such, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Looking over the announced field of candidates for the GOP nomination for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, every candidate except Chesapeake’s Bishop E.W. Jackson is an elected official – past or present.
It might be time for a new face to enter the mix and shake things up.
Enter Pete Snyder, stage right.
Snyder — an entrepreneur and a former Fox News analyst and nationally known conservative commentator who most recently served as the chairman of the Virginia Victory 2012 organization — is reportedly mulling a run for the GOP nomination for Virginia lieutenant governor.
Fox News founder Roger Ailes called Snyder “a strong and effective conservative voice for America” and touted Snyder’s bright future ahead, while lamenting his voluntary departure from the cable news channel.
A Snyder candidacy would add a fresh perspective to what appears to be a rather mundane and tired field of six other “been-there-done-that” or retread lieutenant governor candidates.
A one-time college wrestler, Snyder is no stranger to the transformational iconic campaign. He pioneered the world’s first social media advertising company, creating hundreds of good paying Virginia jobs in the process.
In his role as chairman of the state’s 2012 coordinated campaign for Republicans, Snyder – although losing Virginia to Obama – got a larger percentage vote swing for Romney in 2012 vs. 2008 than any of the other eight so-called “swing” states. In a relative world, Snyder outperformed his peers. He also broke all fundraising records for Victory and the party in the process.
As a technology and social media entrepreneur and a real life job creator, Snyder has the potential to elevate the campaign’s dialogue to a more visionary level, and could inspire young people on the state’s college campuses, a key group that soundly rejected Romney-Ryan-Allen in Virginia on November 6.
Could a new style conservative with a message of self determination and entrepreneurship boldly venture into the inner-city urban areas of Richmond, Portsmouth and Hampton and attempt to sway African American voters? Virginia Republicans have to expand their base. Relying on disaffected coal industry workers from the rural hinterlands and white middle-aged males to deliver them to the electoral promise land has proved to be pure folly.
In the wake of this year’s election-day massacre, it’s abundantly clear that for the state GOP to thrive it needs to change — not by trotting out the same tired and tattered message that loses Northern Virginia by 200,000 votes and falls flat on college campuses – or by becoming Tim Kaine-Lite. The new Virginia Republicans need to inspire, not lecture. They need to compel, not cajole. They need to double down on the conservative principles of ownership, personal liberty and economic freedom, not run from it, or pick and choose its application to fit their social biases.
Nominating people who actually have life’s appositeness of how the private sector works is the only sure fire way to realize a new and invigorated Republican Party of Virginia.
The state GOP needs candidates who can articulate a precise conservative message for the future that resonates with all voters – regardless of demography.
What we don’t need are more Richmond career politicians who have presided over massive increases in the size of government or tried to legislate morality — and are now looking to climb to the next government job rung — by running for Lt. governor.
John Fredericks is syndicated radio talk show host in Virginia and can be heard M-F 6-9 a.m. on WTNT –AM 730 & 102.9FM in D.C., WLEE AM 990 in Richmond and WHKT AM 1650 in Tidewater, or streaming online at www.thejohnfrederickshow.com. This is a sponsored post.